Oct. 16, 2017
With the coming of autumn when extensive maintenance and repair work takes place at many chemical plants, the Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL, Minister Kim Young-joo) is set to implement the 'chemical accident risk warning system' for the fourth quarter of 2017, which targets workplaces* with a high risk of chemical accidents.
* Workplaces in the seven chemical industries, including the petroleum refining industry and the basic petrochemical manufacturing industry, and workplaces that have facilities or equipment using any of the 51 hazardous or dangerous substances at or above the prescribed threshold quantity
The chemical accident risk warning system* is a system of identifying in advance dangerous work, such as maintenance and repair work, at chemical plants on a quarterly basis, issuing warnings corresponding to risk levels and intensively managing workplaces according to their warning levels. It has been in force since May 2014.
* Number of workplaces participating in the risk warning system: 60 in May~Jul. 2014 → 271 in Q4 2014 → 1,079 in Q4 in 2015 → 1,226 in Q4 2016 → 1,584 in Q4 2017
From September 15th to 24th, MOEL collected information about workplace hazards, including maintenance and repair work scheduled to be performed in the fourth quarter, from 1,584 chemical plants through KOSHA'S e-PSM system.
In the case of workplaces* in which signs of risk were found, MOEL will determine their warning levels on October 17th after on-site consulting**.
* Workplaces which are due to carry out regular repair work at their plants, to revamp and repair their major chemical facilities or equipment, to put their new facilities or equipment into operation for the first time or to bring their production facilities or equipment to an emergency stop or restart their operation
** The Serious Industrial Accident Prevention Center's Technical Support Team (KOSHA's staff) will visit the workplaces to provide consulting services.
Once their warning levels are determined, their workplace hazards will be closely managed. More specifically, MOEL will conduct inspections and KOSHA will provide technical guidance, etc.,* according to their warning levels.
* On-site technical guidance, guidance on the establishment of a work plan, special education for relevant workers, inspections, interviews with persons in charge, etc.
By region, South Jeolla Province in which a lot of dangerous work plans to be carried out in the fourth quarter has been issued with 'alert warning'. Periodic situation monitoring, joint meetings, PSM compliance rallies, special education for working-level people from relevant workplaces and so on will be conducted for the region.
Kim Wang, the Director-General of MOEL's Industrial Accident Prevention and Compensation Bureau, said, "Serious chemical plant accidents, such as fires, explosions and leaks, are highly likely to occur during maintenance and repair work."
He went on to say, "We will do our utmost to prevent large-scale accidents at high-risk chemical plants by preemptively managing accident hazards in those workplaces with the arrival of autumn when a lot of maintenance and repair work is performed."